Appleby not yet ruling out Derby date with Duty

William Buick, aboard Line of Duty, rides to victory in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf during day 1 of the Breeders' Cup at Churchill Downs on November 2, 2018 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Charlie Appleby will delay his decision over Line Of Duty’s possible participation in next month’s Investec Derby. Last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner beat only one home on his seasonal return in the Dante Stakes at York last week.

Although Appleby is not ruling the son of Galileo out of the Epsom Classic, he warns he needs to come forward considerably to warrant his place in the line-up on June 1. The Newmarket trainer said: “It was a bit of a disappointment (at York).

“As we know, it is a strong race and it was a competitive renewal of the Dante. Turning in, we knew our fate — that it was just not going to happen.”

Appleby is wary of writing off Line Of Duty’s Derby prospects just yet, though.

“The ground would have been quick enough for him, but at least we have a run under our belt,” he added. “On that evidence he is not a Derby horse, but we will just regroup, and there are no set plans yet.

“We will see what he does over the course of the week, but he has got to come forward to be a Derby horse.”

Meanwhile, Frankellina’s participation in the Investec Oaks is unlikely to be decided until the weekend at the earliest. The William Haggas-trained filly finished a close second in the Musidora Stakes at York last week on just her second outing.

Haggas’ pre-race fears she might be in need of the run came to roost when the daughter of Frankel flattened out inside the final 100 yards to be beaten just a neck, dead-heating for second with Entitle behind Nausha.

Owner Anthony Oppenheimer said:

I have talked to William since, but all he said was he’d wait to see how the filly came out of the race.

“She had quite a hard race, especially for just her second ever run, and she was blowing for about 40 minutes after it.

"I don’t think we’ll decide (about the Oaks) until the five-day stage at the earliest — there’s no need to really. She ran a nice race. She did get left in the stalls a bit, but I don’t think that made any difference to the result.”

Oppenheimer also had Star Catcher placed in another Oaks trial at Newbury on Saturday, beaten two necks by Michael Stoute’s Queen Power.

“The jockey (Frankie Dettori) felt he should have made more use of her, (that) he should have gone quicker because she was coming back at them,” said Oppenheimer.

“It looked a strong race. There’s a feeling it could have been stronger than the Musidora.”

Oppenheimer is looking forward to running Byzantine, trained by John Gosden at Haydock on Friday.

The youngster is set to be the first progeny of the brilliant Golden Horn, who also sported Oppenheimer’s silks, to run. “I’m sure Golden Horn hasn’t had a runner yet, so it will be nice to have his first,” he said.

“If he wins I think we’ll be looking at the Chesham, but John keeps things very close to his chest— so I don’t know how good he is.”

Oppenheimer also suggested that First In Line, a New Approach colt who was second on debut, may also head to the Royal meeting for the King Edward VII Stakes.

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